Denmark says schools ‘safe to send children back to’ amid high Covid infections

Denmark’s schools minister Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil  speaks to media as children return to schools amid high Covid-19 case rates nationally on January 4th 2022.
Denmark’s schools minister Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil speaks to media as children return to schools amid high Covid-19 case rates nationally on January 4th 2022. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark’s schools minister Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil on Tuesday backed the decision to reopen schools on schedule with classes to resume on January 5th amid high Covid-19 infection numbers across the country.

In a briefing at the Ministry of Children and Education, Rosenkrantz-Theil said it was “safe to send the children back”.

The minister cited better and more options to help control the spread of the coronavirus in comparison to the beginning of 2021, when schools were closed amid a broader national lockdown.

Covid-19 infection numbers were considerably lower 12 months ago than at the beginning of 2022, but the vaccination programme was still in its infancy.

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in Denmark on Tuesday was 794, an increase of 24 compared to Monday. The highest total of infections last winter was 964, registered exactly a year ago on January 4th 2021.

READ ALSO: Denmark has most Covid-19 hospital patients since January 2021

These include home tests, which are now offered to children and staff at schools. Twice weekly testing is advised by health authorities.

“My hope is that as many people as possible will say yes to being tested. But we don’t yet know how many will accept this,” Rosenkrantz-Theil said.

The government will closely monitor infections at schools, she also said.

Although home testing is known to be less accurate at detecting Covid-19 than PCR tests, the minister stressed it was a strong tool in the effort to keep infections under control and help schools to remain open.

Children or others who return a positive home test must take a PCR test to confirm whether they are infected with Covid-19.

Parents are also asked to drop their children off outside schools rather than accompany them inside, while children will be kept with their class group with limited mixing between classes.

The deputy director of the Danish Health Authority, Helene Probst, said that an increase in infections related to the return of schools from the Christmas break was “unavoidable”.

She also encouraged parents to get children vaccinated. Vaccinations “can prevent transmission” of Covid-19, Probst said.

Children who display symptoms should not be sent to school and close contacts – people who live with them – should likewise be kept at home, she added.

Head of department and senior consultant at the State Serum Institute (SSI), Tyra Grove Krause, said at the briefing that Covid-19 infections “are currently increasing in all age groups and can be expected to increase further.”

In comments given to Danish broadcasters on Monday, Krause said that infections driven by the dominant Micron variant “will peak at the end of January, and February will see falling infection numbers and a reduction in strain on the health system.”

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Denmark could return to ‘normal life in two months’


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